Awwwww yeah my people, it’s the season of giving!
We are about to get cuh-razy in here with the complete and total randomness of this guide – you are welcome in advance. See, I’ve never been terribly organized, very polished, much of a pre-planner…you get the idea. So perhaps my sending you this guide on December 1st seems to be racing against the clock to you, but to me? I am a champion!
As I said, there’s no rhyme or reason to this guide: it’s just things I like, things I think are cool, or handy, or useful in some way. Some of it is travel based, some of it is just plain fun. Some are inexpensive, some are not. Some give me a little incentive/kickback, most do not. I had to tell you that, though. Some offered to give YOU a discount, just because they are nice.
The Best Damn Travel Bag
If, like me, you’re always looking for the perfect travel bag, I’ve got you covered. Until I found my Travelon, I searched high and low for a bag which looked good, held all of my things, and didn’t have so many pockets that I lost all of those things. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve stood in an airport fumbling around in a way-too-expensive ‘travel’ purse, going through a hundred and fifty thousand pockets, trying to find the one I put my boarding pass into. *Raises fist to the air in fury!*
I discovered Travelon at my local bookstore, of all places, and instantly fell in love. It has options to be an over-the-shoulder purse or messenger bag, holds my wallet, passport, book, scarf and snacks, looks super cool, is durable as heck, AND has a bunch of fancy anti-theft technology, including a zippered RFID blocking pocket (i.e. no one can scan your credit cards just walkin’ on by you). There’s a hook for my keys, a built-in flashlight…clearly I could go on and on. It’s my everyday bag, on the road or not; buy one! Or buy more, because when you use the discount code GIFTGUIDE25, you get 25% off, with free shipping on orders over $35!!
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I *love love love* embroidery which says something cheeky, funny, or surprising – kind of like mixing grandma with my internal dialogue. I’ve been buying (and custom ordering!) from Pixeled Stitching for several years now, and I get more compliments on the little pops of home decor I’ve purchased from her than on anything else.
Check out her etsy shop, and buy one for everyone you know! Clicking that link will get you an automatic 10% off the whole shop, through January 1st…but in case you get there some other way, the code is HOLIDAY18 – now go get yourself some sassy stitches!
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Jewels, Baby. Jewels!
My accessorizing preferences go back and forth between delicate and bold, so here are two of my go-to, favorite options for you.
The classic wrapped hoop from viv & ingrid has been in my collection for about a million years. I can’t believe that some of their pieces in my jewelry case are now considered ‘vintage viv&ingrid’ but here we are. Incidentally, when I started buying and wearing their beautiful designs, I wasn’t quite as vintage as I am now, either. Since then, their collection has grown in both variety, and notoriety. They’re so famous now! And I get to say I knew them when…. *happy sigh*
Use the code TravelRocks20 to get 20% off your order, through January 6th!
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For the days I’m looking to make a bigger statement, I head to JaM JAr, with locations both in my Santa Rosa neighborhood, and in Guerneville.
Aside from the gorgeous items made by co-owner and total sweetheart babe Jaime Jean, this shop carries other local jewelry, accessories, turkish towels (do we need to talk about how much I love turkish towels…again?), and of course, plenty of art by other co-owner, Molly Perez. One-stop shopping, amiright?
Mention The Travel Season and get 10% off your purchase until December 24th!
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The Gift of Language!
Believe it or not, simply repeating a statement or question in your own language when in another country does not, in fact, make someone understand you any better. Come on, man – learn their language! Even a little bit helps: when I went to France, I managed to learn “Je ne parle pas francais”, or “I don’t speak French.” The locals were delighted! Okay, if not ‘delighted’, they at least sighed, shook their heads, and reluctantly spoke English with me. Even if they’d claimed the first two times I’d asked that they could not. I love the French! They are so badass.
Anyway, I’ve been using Pimsleur to try to learn Italian – which is suuuuper hard. But the app makes it easier, I can practice while driving, and I have a discount code for you. Find it here!
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Somewhere to Hide
One of my favorite things about traveling is discovering hidden little spots that clearly aren’t on the tour map. Artist Nathan Hiemstra created a whimsical coloring book full of the best hiding places I could ever imagine.
Get your own copy of Secret Hideaways by clicking this link! Bonus: if you buy a book and leave a review, he’ll personally send you some FREE postcards!
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The Perfect Mug
I don’t know how she does it, but Karen Silberg Ceramics makes the best mug! It keeps my tea warm, my hand loves the shape, and I can put it in the dishwasher. It’s a great gift for anyone who uses a mug, so….basically all of your favorite friends and family. She doesn’t have a website, but she’s on Facebook and Instagram, and she’ll be selling in-person at two upcoming events. Mention The Travel Season for 10% off!
Dec 8th Event: Hessel Guild Craft Fair
Dec 15th Event: Pressley Street Open Studio
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A Year of Reading Material
If you pay any attention at all to my wacky adventures, you know I recently paid a completely unplanned (and unannounced) visit to The Sun Magazine, in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Hoo boy, that was something else! If you or someone you know enjoy deeply felt, surprising, sometimes shocking, always incredible writing in an ad-free magazine format, give the gift of a subscription to this magazine. I’ve gifted these subscriptions to many folks over the years; I once even bought it for my friend in prison, and he loved it! People who are not in prison love it, too.
Subscribe Here! Mention The Travel Season and nothing will happen, because they won’t know what you’re talking about. But, buying a year + subscription is already a pretty big discount off the newsstand price, so, you’re welcome!
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While stalking my friend Anne’s instagram, I saw a shirt I had to have, and she was kind enough to direct me to Kidd Bell…which led me down a rabbit hole of shirts I had to have. (Below is not THE shirt, but the found-in-the-rabbit-hole shirt. It’s my favorite tee ever!)
Kidd Bell is a “unapologetically empowered” line of clothing, accessories and more, and I love what they’re doing. This is the place to shop for your feminist friends, your LGTBQAI (did I get that right?) friends, your ally friends, your sexually active friends, just…any friends who are legit. You’ll find something, I promise.
If you’re in Sonoma County, you can find some of their things, and lots of other very cool locally designed, American made, highly coveted apparel with an equally badass message at woman-owned Hinterland Empire in Occidental. It’s worth a stop either way. Or a click – use the code TRAVELSTORIES on their website, and get 15% your purchase!
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That’s all I’ve got for now…but check back because I have some other things in the works, and I’ll post them here when they’re official! Do you have any must-have gift ideas you want the world to know about? Tell us in the comments!